Seed Diaries 

A roughly weekly account of my seed tray growth and gardening activities that dig up thoughts on what gardening means. Including the history, material culture and personal issues gardening brings to the surface.

Week 1: Page 1 of 3

So I decided to do a seed diary. So seeds you can one day look back and see where you came from. Admittedly this is not the start for you. As a few of you have reached 20cm tall by this point. Exactly two in fact. Twelve spinach seedlings have emerged, of which two are the largest seedlings in the light green propagation tray.

The tomatoes have yet to sprout anything. Not even a sign of life has pocked up from the small square or cube that currently designates their area. I stare and I look each day but nothing emerges. They have been in there the longest but my fear is the sun has not been strong enough, they have not had enough warmth and so they sit there, buried in the soil. Not moving. Maybe mould has started to grow on them. Maybe they were dud seeds anyway. Maybe they will never grow.

The same could not be said for the spinach. The seeds were fresher as they came from my dad, given to me from his garden. A thing that had come into my mind as odd. If I was Freud for example, or a follower even, this might alarm me, or at least start the alarm bells off. A daughter given seeds by her farther which she then grew. But that is how it works if you replace seeds with DNA. I guess what I’m trying to say is the words father, seeds and daughter could sound abject when put together in the same sentence. One of many bizarre thought threads I have had whilst digging. I hope seeds you take this for what it is, a nonsensical thought-fart. There is though a very specific bond between father and daughter. And I am lucky enough to experience that with my dad. We don’t talk every day, we don’t see each other often, but it’s there.

The garden from which these spinach seeds had been taken, is a very long garden. At the far end is where the vegetables grow and it has always been this way. In my memory that is. I should ask my dad what was there when they moved in to this house forty of so years ago. It's a victorian terrace house, probably in the region of 150 years old. Small, cold and cramped for a family of five, although there are only two living there now (if you don’t count the dogs).

The carrots. They are second in the running for speed of growth. Small seedlings, with more delicate looking first leaves known as embryonic leaves.1 Spindly. This pack of seeds came from a 100% free pack meaning that should I have so wished, I could have grown over 100 carrots. But, having learnt from the tomatoes the year before last, a large number of anything would only mean more work, more pots and more compost. We don’t have the space for that many carrots.

The Swiss chard has yet to make an appearance. These seeds came from part of a pack, given to me as a Christmas present by either my mum or sister. I had a housemate who grew these regularly each summer with varying degrees of success. I took it upon myself to assist her last year, weeding, watering and the general looking after they require. But I didn’t eat more than a few leaves. It was my housemate growing them that was the deciding factor for planting them this year. I’m not sure how much I’ll eat if they do end up growing.

The most recent seeds I’ve planted are courgette and spring onion. The courgette I’m sure will work, the large seeds, filled with nutrients, seem to ... 

1. ‘Cotyledon’, Wikipedia, 2021> [accessed 10 March 2021].